Recently we held our eviivo awards 2015, recognising the hard work of our customers. One of those winners was The Langbury in Blue Anchor, near Minehead, Somerset, who won our Outstanding Service Award. They have been in the industry for 14 years and with eviivo since we began. We spoke to Nigel and Paula to find out more about their B&B story.
Congratulations on your win for outstanding service.
Thank you, we think it’s the best one to win really!
So, how long have you been in the B&B business?
We’ve been here 14 years! We are both from the Midlands and we gave up our professional roles, sold everything and moved here, so it was a big change. We bought the Langbury which had been a 16 bed hotel from the 1930’s. It was definitely a project for us but we hit the ground running and in 14 years we’ve built up a list of regular guests. We have a very loyal following but we are always delighted to welcome new people, and lot of that is based on recommendation.
We’ve also partnered with eviivo since conception and we’ve been delighted with it. eviivo treat us with respect, unlike some of the competitors. And eviivo always listen to us; on the very rare occasions that we have problems it’s always been sorted out – we’re big fans.
What do you think makes your B&B outstanding?
We really do go the extra mile and we greet people as if they were friends coming into our house, giving them that home from home experience. Everyone who comes through the door gets tea and coffee and homemade cake, and if they’re new we’ll sit down and go through what the local area has to offer. We want them to get the most out of the area.
Genuinely, 14 years in, we enjoy what we do and that shines through; we want the guest experience to be wonderful. It’s the attention to detail that we give as well, like we cut fresh flowers from the garden to put in the room. It’s the little extras that make it special for somebody.
How do you deal with reviews, the good and the bad?
I personally think they are a really good way to look at your property and improve or validate what you’re doing. I think you have to be very realistic with the review culture and sometimes there are things you don’t want to see or things you don’t necessarily think are fair, but you have to deal with them and you have to be professional. We’ve made a number of improvements due to people’s reviews. However, I do prefer it if someone has a complaint to bring it to your attention when they are there, so you can have a discussion at the time. We are lucky as most of our reviews are really good, so it’s not a major issue for us – but it keeps us on our toes.
Do you have any advice for people who are just starting out in the business?
People say you need to have a hook or something that makes you unique, and we have a really nice location and property but at the end of the day I think the reality is that the thing that makes us different is that we’re Paula and Nigel. We do have very high standards of cleanliness and all our reviews give us top scores for that. Our philosophy is a good bed, great breakfast, good location and to try and engage as much as you can with your guests. Also make sure you use good quality products. Use locally sourced products for breakfast, that’s critical. Your offering should be at the top of your game. To get the best doesn’t cost a huge amount more and it makes the guest experience that much better. Also consistency is key!
What’s the oddest request you’ve had?
One of the strangest request I’ve had was from a guest who had walked to the pub near the sea front and who told me that there were large brambles growing out of a neighbour’s garden and when they walk down they catch on his wife’s jacket and would I go down and cut it back. Of course, I did it!